You might think that as we share a common language, our friends from across the pond would understand every word we Brits utter. But the truth is, we British have a knack for inventing words that perplex our American counterparts.
So, if you’ve ever wondered why your American friends look baffled when you mention a ‘brolly’ or why they’re puzzled when you talk about the queue at the ‘chemist,’ this guide is for you! Here are 20 British terms that leave Americans scratching their heads.
No, it’s not a diminutive form of Robert. It’s another term for a police officer in the UK. It’s a nod to Sir Robert Peel, who created the Metropolitan Police in the 19th century.
This isn’t about trains. If a Brit tells you they’re “chuffed,” they’re not huffing and puffing; they’re pleased!
Referring to something suspicious or of low quality. For example, “That’s a dodgy looking pie.”
Surprised to the point of speechlessness. “I was gobsmacked when I heard the news.”
I am exhausted or worn out. It is usually associated with people rather than things. Think of it as a fancier way to say you’ve had a long day.
Not a person named Louise, but the British term for the bathroom or toilet.
Something uncool, tacky, or lacking in style. It is a term used mainly by the older generation, so avoid saying something is ‘naff’ to be on the safe side.
Not a piece of chewing gum, but the British slang term for a pound (£).
This isn’t just a term for garbage. It’s also used to declare that something is nonsense or untruthful.
When a Brit says they’re “skiving off,” they’re playing hooky or avoiding doing something they should be.
An unflattering term for a person who is incompetent or unpleasant.
Also known as a ‘brolly,’ it is essential due to the unpredictable British weather.
In the UK, this refers to an undershirt, not an outer garment worn over a shirt.
A more colorful way to say whine or complain.
In the UK, a biscuit is what Americans call a cookie.
It’s a British way of saying a long time. Like, “I haven’t seen him in yonks.”
No, it is not a wildlife migration pattern but a pedestrian crosswalk.
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